Interim Joint Committee on Transportation

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 4th Meeting

of the 2012 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> October 2, 2012

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday,<MeetMDY2> October 2, 2012, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ernie Harris, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, Jimmy Higdon, Paul Hornback, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Damon Thayer, Johnny Ray Turner, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, David Floyd, Keith Hall, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Donna Mayfield, Terry Mills, Lonnie Napier, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, John Short, Arnold Simpson, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Addia Wuchner.

 

Other Legislators in Attendance: Representative Dennis Horlander.

 

Guests: Monty Boyd, President & CEO, Whayne Supply Company and Chairman, Kentuckians for Better Transportation; Dr. Joe Crabtree, Director, Kentucky Transportation Center, University of Kentucky; Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Tom Napier, Executive Advisor, State Highway Engineers Office, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Nick Melton, Vaughn & Melton; John Burke, Cumberland Gap Tunnel Authority; Morgain Sprague, Legal Counsel, Kentucky State Police.

 

LRC Staff: John Snyder, Brandon White, Dana Fugazzi, and Jennifer Beeler.

 

Approval of Minutes

Representative Collins made a motion to approve the minutes from the September 4, 2012 meeting as submitted. The motion was seconded by Representative Short and adopted by voice vote.

 

Report on Stateís Support of Non-Highway Modes of Transportation

Monty Boyd, President & CEO, Whayne Supply Company and Chairman, Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT) explained that KBT focuses on improving all five modes of transportation: air, public transit, rail, water transportation, and highways and bridges.

 

Dr. Joe Crabtree, Director, Kentucky Transportation Center, University of Kentucky started by giving an overview of the study ďStatesí Support of Non-Highway Modes of Transportation: Investigation and SynthesisĒ that KTC facilitated. The study began because Kentucky has an extensive multi-modal transportation system that consists of much more than just highways. Compared to highways, other transportation modes get limited state support.

 

Dr. Crabtree stressed that the study did not develop any recommendations, just supplied a comparison of the funding for these four modes of transportation in Kentucky against the selected states. Of the seven surrounding states, three, including Kentucky, have constitutional restrictions on how transportation related revenues may be spent and Indiana is the only state that has statutory restrictions.

 

††††††††††† He explained that within Kentucky there are 57 airports eligible to receive financial support from the Transportation Cabinet and Federal Aviation Administration. In recent years, trust fund revenues have been redirected to the Kentucky General Fund. These funds, which amount to approximately $10 million, are to be used for the development, rehabilitation and maintenance of publicly owned or operated aviation facilities. Kentucky also collects approximately $2 million in ad valorum property taxes from commercial aviation carriers, but these funds also go to the general fund. The primary source of funding for planning and development for public use airports is the Federal Airport Improvement Program. Federal funds are available as a 75 percent federal, 25 percent state and local match for large airports. For small airports, the federal share is 95 percent with only a 5 percent state match required (half local and half state).

 

††††††††††† Dr. Crabtree stated that during the study, KTC took each comparison state for each mode of non-highway transportation and compared the structures in Kentucky and the support that the state can provide in comparison with the select target states. All permit funds accrued in the Aviation Economic Development Fund are used to fund aviation activities as set forth in KRS 183.525(5) rather than diverting to the general fund. Another opportunity that could help the aviation industry in Kentucky would be to raise or eliminate the cap on jet fuel tax.

 

††††††††††† He explained that in regards to public transportation, Kentucky has three urbanized area systems, numerous smaller urban area systems and rural services. Public transportation is regulated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinetís Office of Transportation Delivery. For the public transit companies, the major source of funding is through the Federal Transit Administration. The report identifies several opportunities to give public transportation a chance to grow within Kentucky, including providing state funding for operating assistance, distributing some of all state funds by formula, providing reimbursement programs to support reduced or eliminated fares for elderly and/or disabled persons, generating or allocating sales tax revenues for public transportation, and dedicating state lottery revenues for public transportation services. There are also opportunities to establish transportation financing programs for large capital transit projects. Kentucky could also utilize innovative federal financing programs, such as the Grant Anticipation Notes (GANS) program and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, to help secure funding for large capital transit projects.

 

††††††††††† In response to Senator Harris, Stan Lampe, Kentuckians for Better Transportation, stated that the TARC public transportation system in Louisville receives less than 10 percent revenue from fares.

 

††††††††††† In response to Representative Wuchner, Dr. Crabtree stated that grants for airports are administered within the Department of Aviation, Transportation Cabinet.

 

††††††††††† In response to Representative Belcher, Dr. Crabtree stated that it is his understanding that the TIFIA program is more of a loan program. He explained that to get the funding an entity would have to prove a business case that it could pay back the loan.

 

††††††††††† In Kentucky, rail transportation freight rail service is provided by five Class I, one regional and seven local railroads. The industry pays ad valorum property and corporate income taxes as a revenue source for Kentucky. Opportunities to improve rail transportation in Kentucky were to secure a dedicated source of revenue, establish a state infrastructure bank in order to fund transportation projects of all modes, create a passenger rail trust fund using federal funds for passenger and high-speed rail, offer tax incentives which can be applied to Class I railroads, seek public-private partnerships with the federal government, other states and privately owned railroads. He explained that updating the state rail plan with short-term and long-term plans for the development of rail infrastructure in the state would be beneficial, as well as, identifying potential partners for freight and passenger initiatives by taking a more active role in interstate associations.

 

††††††††††† Dr. Crabtree said that Kentucky has over 1,250 miles of navigable waterways, with seven active public and over 300 private ports. The waterways are administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinetís Division of Planning. The United States Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for all of the lock and dam infrastructure. In 2010, the General Assembly enacted a Water Transportation Advisory Board, which provides guidance to the Governorís Office, the General Assembly, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and the Cabinet for Economic Development. Also in 2010, the General Assembly authorized two trust funds, one for capital improvements and one for marketing assistance, but did not appropriate money for those funds.

 

††††††††††† Within the waterway system the KTC found several opportunities to boost waterways in Kentucky. One strategy is to establish a dedicated water transportation or maritime unit in the stateís transportation agency. Alternatively, one state has opted to situate its waterways program in the economic development office. Kentucky could also make constitutional or statutory changes to provide support and funding for infrastructure improvements and waterway transport using fuel tax revenues, or dedicate state funding for capital, infrastructure improvements, and marketing projects and inland ports.

 

††††††††††† Dr. Crabtree closed his presentation by explaining that numerous other states, including adjacent states, were reviewed to identify how they support air, public transportation, rail and waterways. Kentuckyís non-highway modes receive somewhat limited state support and modal lists of opportunities generally focus on funding and financial support.

 

Implementation of 2012 Regular Session House Bill 221, Veteran Designation on Drivers License

Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet started by informing the committee that the state is printing drivers licenses with the veteranís designation on them. Due to programming issues, the Cabinet had to delay the printing of the veteranís designation and has been effective as of September 24, 2012. And, due to these programming issues, veterans who paid to renew their driverís licenses between July 12 (effective date of House Bill 221) and September 24 without the designation will be able to return to the clerkís office and get a reprinted license with the designation free of charge.

 

††††††††† Procedures for Hazardous Materials Vehicles Traveling through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel

††††††††† Nick Melton, Vaughn and Melton Engineers, explained that Vaughn and Melton began providing construction, engineering, and inspection services for the Federal Highway Administration in 1985 in the building of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. The tunnel, which opened to traffic in October 1996, was built with 100 percent federal funding. By an agreement with Tennessee and Kentucky, the states were to manage and operate and maintain the tunnel upon completion. Prior to completion of the tunnel, there was a request to operate the tunnel by the Transportation Cabinet as designated by the bi-state agreement as the lead state.

 

††††††††† John Burke, Cumberland Gap Tunnel Authority explained that the Cumberland Gap Tunnel is located within the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, between Middlesburg, Kentucky and Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Each tunnel is 4,600 feet long, and there is one tunnel one for northbound traffic and one tunnel for southbound traffic. Each tunnel has two lanes of traffic that travel each direction. The Cumberland Gap Tunnel Authority has 36 employees to cover the 24 hour 7 day a week operation. All employees are cross-trained to be emergency medical technicians and firefighters at the hazardous materials operations level, and are trained in as to vehicle extrication and OSHA regulations. Maintenance on the tunnel is demand based maintenance and preventive in nature. The authority responds to any incident in any general area of the tunnel and covers small incidents up to major incidents.

 

††††††††† Mr. Burke stated that, with hazardous materials escorts, a truck hauling any type of hazardous materials must be inspected before reaching the tunnel. After the inspection is completed, traffic will be stopped in both directions and the truck hauling the hazardous materials will lead the escort vehicle through the tunnel. After the truck passes through the tunnel, traffic resumes. In a week period, there are approximately 550-600 escorts. Seventy percent are local carriers that travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to get loads of fuel to bring to Kentucky for storage.

 

††††††††† In response to Senator Harris, Mr. Melton explained that there are two separate tunnels, but every 600 feet there are cross-passages to allow traffic to be transferred to the other tunnel if necessary.

 

††††††††† In response to Senator Harris, Mr. Melton explained that explosive materials are not allowed in or around the tunnels.

 

††††††††† In response to Representative Stewart, Mr. Burke stated that there is a tunnel in Colorado that allows hazardous materials through the tunnel during the winter months at the top of each hour.

 

††††††††† Consideration of Administrative Regulation 502 KAR 1:120 & E

††††††††† Senator Harris gave a brief description of the regulation. No objection was raised to the proposed Administrative Regulation.

 

††††††††† Senator Harris informed the committee that the next committee meeting will be November 13, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

 

††††††††††† With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.††††††††††